Concept of t/Moon-to-n/Sun Returns

ThMoon-Sun Cycle-Je concepts behind the t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return are simple to grasp.  The creation of this type of Return chart was driven by the nature of what was to be explored.


Moon-to-Sun Returns have been infrequently utilized by a small number of astrologers over the years.  They have not become recognized by the ‘mainstream’ of ‘Western’ astrologers.  The use of the Standard Practice (SP) approach, consisting of the natal-progression-transit trio of charts, has been the methodology of choice by most astrologers.  This text will define the rational behind these Moon-to-Sun Returns and their general usage.


The following topical areas will be addressed.

  • History of recent Moon-to-Sun Return charting.
  • Return and Cyclic charts.
  • The basis of Moon-to-Sun Returns.


I became aware of the t/Moon-to-n/Sun Return from a borrowed book written by an astrologer active in the late 1900’s, Therese Sweeney, who practiced in the New York and southeastern areas of Massachusetts.  Her book, The Tropical Solunar Return, 1981 was privately published, some 80 pages in length, and spiral bound.  It is no longer generally available.  Her approach was to utilize a Return chart for when the transiting Moon conjoined the natal Sun.  She placed great emphasis on which natal house was on the Return chart’s Ascendant and on transits during the following month-long cycle to the natal planets and Return chart planets.  Other than the concept of a Return of the transiting Moon to the natal Sun as the basis for a chart, the balance of her methodology did not stray far from conventional standard practices.

In this era of computers, it took little time to experiment with optional approaches to this fascinating method.  First was the division of the t/Moon-n/Sun 28 day cycle into two parts, a personal new Moon and a personal full Moon half-cycle, recognizing the long-used new and full Moon importance in astrology.  Second was to adopt a diurnal approach to advancing the chart angles and accommodating the transiting planets.  This enabled the discontinuance of using Derivative Houses (placing natal houses in another charts house structure).  Third was the focus for using t/Sun, t/Moon and t/Part of Fortune as the major triggering factors.  Fourth, recognizing that the charting method was now fully based on a cyclic process, was to shift the interpretive method to a focus on angular planets as the basis for the primary interpretation.  The results over some 1000 charts was remarkable.

Return and Cyclic charts.

A ‘Return’ chart portrays the moment when a transiting planet comes in to a conjunction (or other given angular relationship) to a natal chart planet or point.  The most common of these are the Solar Return and the Lunar Return.  In these cases the ‘return’ occurs when the transiting Sun conjoins the natal Sun position, or when the transiting Moon conjoins the natal Moon position.

A Moon to Sun Return occurs when the transiting Moon conjoins the natal Sun.  One can easily conceive to apply this approach to any type of Planet Return using the transiting Moon conjoining a given natal planet.

Return charts are technically one form of a Cyclic chart.  A basic Cycle chart would be the Sun’s annual seasonal cycle.  If measured from the spring Aries point, and if plotted as a sine wave, we would see the cycle rising from the base line, peaking at its upper point at the summer solstice, then dropping again to the base line at the Libra equinox, continuing to fall towards the winter solstice, and finally rising towards the Aries point at the base line.  The sine wave can be given a measurement scale; degrees above and below the Aries-Libra axis, and time-as-measured-in-days or months from the Aries point along the Aries-Libra axis.  See diagram One.

Cycle charts can also be based on the relationship between two cycles.  Such a case exists with the Solar Return cycle as defined by Irish astrologer and siderealist Cyril Fagan.  His method of progressing a Solar Return was to proportionally apply the difference in Sidereal Time between one Solar Return and the following Solar Return.  Under his definition, the ST measurement covers the 360 degrees of the zodiac plus the remaining 90 degrees of rotation during the remaining quarter day of the Earth’s orbit.  The Earth requires 365.25 days to complete its 360 degree circle of the Sun.  These mathematics present us with a 360 degree advance in 3656.25 days (the Suns annual seasonal cycle) and the addition of the MC’s advance during the final quarter day of the orbital year.  This results in a total advance of the MC of 450 degrees (approximately) over 365.25 days.  This dual cycle is shown in diagram Two.

Any Cyclic chart, or the sub-set of Return charts, exhibit common attributes

  • The cycle, or cycle components if a dual cycle, is repeatable.
  • The cycle is more-or-less regular in the time it takes to exhibit itself.
  • The cycle can be portrayed as a sign wave type of diagram, or it can be plotted at any point within the cycle as an astrological chart.
  • Scientists have found that the cycle is most measurable, impacting and significant at the upper and lower peaks (on a sine wave diagram) and at the points where the cycle is measured as crossing the axis line.  Astrologers also note the power of these points by recognizing these points as the start of the angular (action) houses and by transiting planets more significantly expressing themselves when contacting the cyclic points.

The Basis of Moon-to-Sun Returns.

A broad view of the Standard Practice (SP) and the Moon-to-Sun Returns is a good place to start.

SP and S-M Return chart of features

Standard Practice (meaning the general usage of natal, progressed, and transit charts) is shown in the first table-section.

  • The Natal chart is studied and interpreted in terms of the subject’s character, personality and likely major trends in their life — although no specific time or period of life is typically deliniated.
  • The Progressed chart is typically a secondary progression, sometimes a ‘directed’ chart, rarely a primary chart.  This chart is advanced by several or a specific number of days, each day is to represent a year’s time.  This ‘symbolic time’ (day for a year) is used to determine when planetary aspects to natal planets will occur, this being the basis for saying when developments may occur.  This form of prediction is generally accurate to within a year — sometimes, with faster moving bodies, to smaller increments of time.
  • The Transiting chart, for any specific day,. is interpreted relative to the transitng planet contacting or aspecting a natal planet.  Some also use transits to progressed planets as a tool.

I have labeled this above approach as the ‘Standard Practice’ so as to distinguish it from the usage of Return charts.  Now, note the differences indicated in the Moon-to-Sun Return charts.  This is a cohesive system of charting and analysis.

  • The Natal chart also defines the character and personality of the subject as well as the major themes that may occur in life.  Additionally, in the reading of the Return chart and daily Advanced charts, the planets will be seen in terms of how the adjult subject has come to express them.  This requires the astrologer to understand the context of the subject’s life at the time the charts are constructed for. 
  • The Return chart may be a Moon-to-Sun or a Moon-opposite-Sun Return for a given period.  Each represents a two-week cycle.  The chart’s Sun and Moon placement in the chart’s houses represents a ‘theme’ for both the Return-day and the following days in the two week cycle.  Natal planets are reoriented within the Return chart’s house structure, although they retain their zodiac position.  Interpretive emphasis is given to the angular planets — this forms the core of any predictions or expectations.
  • Any Advanced chart for a given day in the cyclic period (two weeks) is diurnally advanced, the angles moving about one degree per day.  Angles advancing and contacting natal or transitng planets indicate trigger dates for events, attitudes and experiences that relate to the planets involved, and within the context of the subject’s life.  Close attention is paid to angular planets, and triggers such as t/Sun, t/Moon and t/Part of Fortune.

The above table hints at the very real differences between the Standard Practice charting and the Return charting.  The comparison is made to highlight the distinctions of the Return chart and the techniques for using it.

It is hoped that this brief text will serve as an introduction to Moon-to-Sun Returns.  It is intended that a worked example, using the free-to-download, free-to-use StarFisher astrological program, will provide a detailed example of how to construct these charts as well as how to interpret them.

Added Jan. 21, 2017

It should be noted that the natal angles will occasionally be located at or near a Return or cyclic chart’s angles.  When the natal and Return MC’s match up one can expect a major change in one’s life to be possible.  This is commonly observed in these charts.  Dave